Why should a person doing exactly the same work be paid less because of a two year age difference? If you’re an adult in the eyes of the law, why shouldn’t you be paid as one?
About 100% Pay at 18+
Junior rates are part of many Australian industrial awards. They mean that workers in many industries aged under 21 are paid less for doing the same job as someone slightly older.
Junior rates are set in line with age. Typically, 18 year olds are paid 70% of the adult rate, at 19 they get 80% and at 20 the rate payable is 90% of the adult rate.
In the retail sector thanks to strong campaigning by the SDA, 20 year old workers are now paid at the full 100% adult rate and that’s an excellent first step.
But pay rates still don’t take into account experience or contribution, meaning that an 18 year old with two years’ experience earns less than a 21 year old with no experience at all.
Once you hit 18 you’re seen as a responsible adult in the eyes of the law – you can vote, legally drink, drive a car and get married. But in the retail sector you still can’t get paid a full adult wage until you hit 20. It just doesn’t make sense.
Many workers who are 18 and 19 years old have significant experience in their job and are often in senior positions – they deserve to be paid properly for the work they’re doing.
That’s why the SDA is now focused on achieving 100% Pay for 18 and 19 year olds. We know young people work hard and make an important and significant contribution to their workplace.